Step 3: Spinning a single and winding off.
Okay! So you have your drop spindle, your fiber and have you fiber pre-drafted and ready to go! Now what? Insert twist of course! Twist direction, at this stage of the game, isn't a big matter. Spin your spindle however is comfortable for you. Just make a note of what direction you spin, as it is important to plying.
You will need a leader thread, and this can be nearly any old piece of scrap yarn, thread, embroidery floss, etc. It doesn't need to be too long, 4 inches will be more the enough for a top whorl, and 6 inches should be great for a bottom whorl. It just has to reach from under your whorl (or just above your whorl for a bottom whorl spindle) to the hook atop your spindle. The easiest way to attach your leader yarn is to create a slip knot into the end of your leader yarn and slip it onto the shaft of your drop spindle. It should rest underneath the whorl. Tie a loop into the end of the leader, this is where you will insert the end of your roving when you start to spin.
Draft out the end of your roving just a tiny bit, and insert it into the loop and fold it over onto itself. Bring your leader around you whorl and hook it into the hook atop your spindle.
Holding the fiber in one hand where it is folded and, using your finger and thumb on your other hand, flick that spindle so that it spins! An alternative method (easiest with a top whorl) is to rest the bottom part of the shaft on your inner thigh, and using your palm, roll it out towards your knee. Let it spin.
As it is spinning, let the twist travel up and into your roving. Voila! You've made yarn! This vid from theartofmeg
is a perfect example of what you should be doing, if you need to see it in 'action'.
Tricks to see if you've inserted enough or to much twist:
Hold out the length of yarn you've just made and let it go slack
- If it folds and twists upon it self once you've inserted just enough twist! (if you want to ply this, give it one more little spin)
- If your yarn kinks up all over itself, and makes a clump, you've got to much twist. Don't worry! It's an easy fix. Allow the twist to run into your unspun roving until you've evened out the twist
- If your yarn doesn't move and kind of turns back into roving when you slacken it, it's not twisted enough! Another easy fix, just flick that spindle again.
Keep on spinning until you run out of roving or can't fit any more on your spindle.
OOPS! my yarn broke! what now?
Did it break because it was over twisted and thin? -go back to a part that was less twisted and a bit thick and let the twist out. draft out the roving a little bit and lay it over top the yarn. Hold it in place and start spinning it again.
Did it break because it was to thick and not enough twist? - Draft out the fiber at the end of the yarn a bit, and the same with the roving. do as above.
Next up, Winding off that beautiful single you just made.
This is quite simple, since you are winding off to ply grab an empty toilet paper roll. Notch one end and slip your yarn end into the notch, and wrap your yarn onto the tp roll.
Or if you know you are going to want to ply before you start, wrap a scrap of paper (any weight will do) around the shaft of your spindle and tape it in place. When you've finished your single you can just slide it off and stick it on a knitting needle or bamboo skewer.
Next lesson is plying, so for now, just hold onto those singles!
There are a few other methods of spindle spinning that you should know about as well. There is the Park and Draft method, and another more advanced method: draft while spinning! check this out if you feel adventurous! Abby Franquemont showing both park and Draft and drafting while spinning
And one pic of me drafting while spinning (as though you were standing behind me)
The arrow indicates that you are moving you fiber hand back, drafting the fiber as you spin. You other hand stays still.